2016 Les Hautes Garrigues Domaine Santa Duc
Always the richest, most powerful wine in the lineup, the 2016 Gigondas Hautes Garrigues offers a rocking bouquet of black cherries, blackberries, bouquet garni, pepper, and fresh earth. Full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, and with building tannins, it’s certainly a more fresh, stylish example of this cuvée and is a perfect wine from readers wanting to understand the changes that have happened at this estate over the past decade or so. Give this beauty 2-4 years of bottle age and enjoy it over the following decade. Drinking range: 2018 - 2028 Rating: 95+ Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Sep 2018)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
Flowering garrigue, black cherries and licorice all pop on the nose of the 2016 Gigondas Les Hautes Garrigues. Full-bodied, rich, velvety and intense without being overbearing, it's a tremendous effort, with the poise, grace and charm of Disney's Fantasia ballet-dancing hippo. And the finish is long—really long. Drinking range: 2021 - Rating: 95-97 Joe Czerwinski, www.robertparker.com (Aug 2018)
Brilliant magenta. Heady blackberry, cherry and boysenberry aromas are complicated by building floral, spice and mineral flourishes. Stains the palate with intense dark fruit, lavender pastille and spicecake flavors and hints of licorice and bitter chocolate come in slowly. Shows unlikely finesse for its heft and finishes extremely long and precise with mounting tannins and resonating floral and cherry notes. Drinking range: 2024 - 2034 Rating: 95 Josh Raynolds, www.vinousmedia.com (Jan 2021)
In this historic terroir of the winery, our vines have been rooted since the winery was founded five generations ago in 1874. In 1852, the municipality of Gigondas decided to auction its 12 hectares of garrigue. Shortly after, the winegrowers planted the first vines and discovered the magnificent stony red clay soils of the Quaternary. The roots of the vines have to push through 8 meters of barren and draining alluvial soils before reaching the deeper basis of blue clay. The Grenache loves this soil, and here expresses its full power. As being replanted for many years the proportion of Mourvèdre steadily increases and today arrives at 40%. It brings the wine freshness, licorice aromas and structure. This terroir creates deep, reputable wines, with spice and a dense tannin structure, as well as an exceptional longevity. Origin : Plot of vines planted exclusively on the land of the Hautes Garrigues by which the area is named and which serves as the centre of the domain. Varieties : Grenache 65%, Mourvèdre 35%. (Old vines). Vinification : Harvesting by hand with a strict selection process ; the whole harvest « macerates » for two months. Partial destemming. Ageing : The wine ages in recent oak casks for 18 months before bottling. Terroir : A poor and stony Quaternary soil of red clayWinemaker's notes (Jan 2021)
Domaine Santa Duc
The name of Domaine Santa Duc has been at the pinnacle of wine in Gigondas since the mid 80’s when, under the firm guidance of the irrepressible and charismatic Yves Gras, they gained international recognition and high scores from wine critics. They have, for some time, been a reference point for quality and style, from one of the most consistently brilliant Crus in the Southern Rhone.
The future of the domaine is now in the very capable hands of Yves' son Benjamin, who becomes the 6th generation of the family to head up the estate. To borrow from Matt Walls ‘Yves Gras and his son Benjamin are very different characters. Yves has the air of a retired East End enforcer but Benjamin is bookish and jovial’. It would appear from our recent tastings that the estate is in safe hands. Having a respectable CV that boasts stages at Domaine de la Romanée Conti and Vega Sicilia, and visits to nearly every wine producing country in the world, he bring fresh views and ideas, whilst respecting the traditions of his father's work and the past.
The entire 30 hectare estate is now biodynamically farmed and certified, with an emphasis on total respect for nature in the vineyard. They comprise a patchwork of prime vineyard sites in Gigondas totalling 13 hectares, including two brilliant lieux-dits, Les Hautes Garrigues & Clos Derriere Vieille, that bring out the very best expression of Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre. There is also 6 hectares of prized parcels in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, that have gained high praise in a short space of time. The balance is spread across Vacqueyras and Cotes du Rhone. Nearly all the vines are trained goblet, with a program of massal selection ongoing to ensure healthy vines from older rootstocks.
The wine making philosophy, like so many now, is as little intervention as possible. Stainless steel fermentation, with a proportion of stems and a short maceration followed by ageing in a mixture of large foudres and terracotta amphorae. The wines are fresh, elegant, pure, dark fruited and long lived although approachable in their youth too. Be in no doubt, these are some of the best wines being made in the southern Rhone.
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